WHNT News 19 reported on the Huntsville City Schools decision to switch to Apple Bus Co. for school bus services.
Apple Bus, which is based in Missouri and provides services in seven southern and midwestern states, was awarded a five-year contract at $11 million per year by school board members during a Thursday meeting. There are only a few months left to get buses and operations prepared before the start of school this fall, but company representatives expressed confidence that everything would be ready.
The district had previously used Durham School Services as its school bus contractor. However, parents and board members have for some time voiced dissatisfaction with the company, due to buses running late, not showing up, or being too hot during the summer.
Apple Bus, on the other hand, says it plans to have Transfinder routing software, GPS tracking, cameras, Wi-Fi and air conditioning on all buses it runs for the district. The company reportedly will seek a general manager for the area, and will perform regular maintenance on all buses.
The school bus driver shortage is still a real problem in the area, but company representatives said they are confident in their record for recruiting and training drivers. Starting pay for drivers will be $20/hour.
"We have a track record of success, and that speaks for itself," said Founder and CEO Mike Oyster.